Ellis Shuman

Review of ‘Angels & Tahina’ by Tzippi Moss

In the autumn of 2009, Tzippi Moss, her husband Allan, and their son Ezra, set out to hike the Israel Trail, a 1000-kilometer trek from Kibbutz Dan in the north, to the shores of the Red Sea in Israel’s south. Their goal was not only to experience the country’s beauty on foot, but also to raise funds to research cures for Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis, the progressive nervous system disease commonly known as ALS that took the life of Allan’s mother.

Angels & Tahina: 18 Lessons from Hiking the Israel Trail by Tzippi Moss (Goat Path Publications, September 2020) came 11 years later. The book is part travelogue, part memoir, and part a collection of life lessons.

“Each chapter is organized around a specific life lesson,” Moss writes in her introduction. These lessons, “inspired primarily by folks I met along the way … may zigzag between far-flung locations on the trail.”

One of the first non-chronological chapters is ‘Commit to the Journey’. While Tzippi and her husband had hiked frequently in the past, it wasn’t clear to her if she was capable of leaving her coaching practice and committing to two months on the trail. “I love starting something new,” she writes. “It’s just the follow-through I’m challenged by.”

She prepares for her trek meticulously, purchasing suitable hiking boots, packing sufficient food, and planning where to hide caches of it to be retrieved later. Yet nothing can adequately prepare her for handling the toll on her physical and mental health. She will have to acquire additional skills along the journey, and she shares the process with readers.

The family is buoyed by faith, and their love for Israel. “God, thank you for keeping our steps steady and secure so that we may continue walking for all those who are not able to do so,” they say each morning. “Help us to get to our destination.”

The tahina in the book’s title refers to the “ubiquitous tahina” they packed for sustenance, because “it stores well, provides protein, fat, and calcium.” Angels refers to a network of some 500 people from Dan to Eilat who regularly extend warm hospitality to Israel Trail hikers.

Tzippi and her family may have enjoyed warm showers, comfortable beds, and Shabbat meals in kibbutzim and development towns along their route, but the success of their trek depended entirely on them. By journey’s end they had not only raised funds to combat ALS, but had also learned the power of family and commitment to achieving the impossible.

Readers will admire both the author’s perseverance and her remarkable ability to share life lessons for both body and soul, lessons that will be valued by all, whether they hike or not.

Tzippi Moss, a resident of Jerusalem, is a holistic psychotherapist at Inner Alchemist Coaching who counsels individuals and couples. Her specialties include mediation, financial counseling, dream work, EMDR, brainspotting, EFT, life and business coaching, medical coaching, stress reduction and relaxation techniques. Angels & Tahina is her first book.

About the Author
Ellis Shuman made aliya to Jerusalem as a teenager, served in the IDF, was a founding member of a kibbutz, and now lives on Moshav Neve Ilan. Ellis is the author of ‘The Burgas Affair’ – a crime thriller set in Israel and Bulgaria; ‘Valley of Thracians’ - a suspense novel set in Bulgaria; and 'The Virtual Kibbutz' - a collection of short stories. His writing has appeared in The Times of Israel, The Huffington Post, The Jerusalem Post, Israel Insider, and on a wide range of Internet websites. Ellis lived with his wife for two years in Bulgaria, and blogs regularly about Israel, Bulgaria, books, and writing.
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